By Rosetta Thomas
Thousands of years before Jesus came to the earth, several prophecies were recorded concerning his life and ministry. Every single word that was spoken concerning his life came to pass. In Hebrews 10:7 the scripture tells us:
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
I wish to submit to you that although Jesus finished well, it was not automatic. The scripture tells us in Hebrews 4:15:
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The fact that Jesus experienced temptation means that he could have walked in error. Nevertheless, he chose to walk according to the divine prescription that was recorded of him in the volume of the books by being completely obedient to the Father.
The Bible records the story of a man by the name of Samson who also had a prophecy over his life but unlike Jesus, he derailed from his assignment. In Judges 13: 1-5, the scripture gave the account:
1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Samson’s purpose was to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines but this assignment was aborted, so much so that by the end of his life, the Philistines had spoiled Israel. They mocked the God of Israel by bringing him into the temple of dagon for sport and he furthermore died a shameful death with his enemies.
The future of Israel at the time had rested on Samson’s obedience. A consequence of his failure was that Israel was not liberated from the Philistines, contrary to the prophetic word. In addition to this, the Israelites stayed in captivity longer than expected. In a similar breath, the children of Israel lingered for 40 years in the Wilderness and delayed the breakthrough of their generations because those who had the promise did not live according to the divine prescription that was laid down for them.
Sometimes the future of a family or church is resting on the obedience of one individual. In the case of Jesus, the entire redemption of man rested on his shoulders and you and I are in the faith today because his obedience was complete.
But while Samson derailed from the divine prescription for his life, one would question where he went wrong and the lessons that we can learn from the story? I will briefly highlight two areas where Samson went astray.
1. The Love of the World
First of all, Samson was blinded by worldly ambitions. First he was more interested in building a name for himself rather than focusing on his assignment and that was one of the things that led to his failure. What business does a man of God have by giving riddle? He wanted to show how wise and powerful he was, but at the same time the children of Israel who he should be delivering were under bondage. Secondly, Samson presumptuously played with fire. We can deduce from the story as record in Judges 16 that Samson knew that Delilah was after him because several times when she was taunting him, and he kept giving her wrong information, she had him tied up and brought the Philistines upon him. This clearly shows that Samson knew her intentions but he nevertheless continued to play in her hands.
The scripture warns that no man has ever put fire in his bosom without getting burnt. Similarly, we are encouraged to avoid all appearances of evil. Additionally, we are told in 1 John 2:15-16:
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Samson’s love of the world cost him the noble opportunity to be listed as a liberator of Israel. He rather failed in his assignment.
2. Samson made light of the covenant that was on his life.
Another area in which Samson derailed was that he made light of the covenant that was on his life. In the context of the scripture, covenant is an agreement between man and God. Samson had a Nazarite covenant on his life. He was not supposed to drink wine, he was not supposed to cut the hair from his head, and he was not supposed to eat unclean meat or anything unclean for that matter.
What we find though is that Samson broke each of the pillars of these covenants one by one. First, we see in Judges 14: 8 – 10 where he defiled himself by eating honey that was taken out of the carcass of a dead lion. Secondly, he drank the wine that Delilah gave him which further caused him to fall from his spiritual position. Thirdly, Samson revealed the secret of his hair to Delilah and she got him trimmed which completely destroyed his covenant relationship with God.
So essentially, Samson’s assignment was terminated prematurely because he did not adhere to the prescription that was laid out for his life by prophecy while Jesus fulfilled what was written on him in the volume of the Books.
What if one is already on a different path. Is there still hope? 1 Kings 13:1–3 records the prophecy of a man who would be born in the house of David, Josiah by name, and that he would destroy the altar at Bethel. Three hundred years later, a man, Josiah was born. Josiah lived a relatively normal life and this continued up to point where he was made aware of this prophecy which was written about him in the volume of the books.
When his eyes opened, he tore his clothes and turned over a new leaf that saw him walking in the divine prescription that was laid out for his life as recorded in the scriptures:
2 Chron. 34:31-33 tells us:
31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. 32 And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.
In the end, Josiah made so much impact that upon his death, Jeremiah and all the singing men and women lamented for him, the lamentation of which are recorded in the book of Lamentations.
In conclusion, I want to submit to you that the Bible is a not just a book of prophesy, but for us, it is an open prophesy. The story of our lives is still being written and it can either conform to what is written in the volume of the Books concerning the faithful or the story that is written in the volume of the books concerning those who live a defeated life. Most importantly if one is on a different path from the prescription laid out for their life, they can make a comeback like Josiah and change their story. The way our story ends depends on us, so let us endeavour to live by the divine prescription laid out for us in the volume of the books so we can end in victory.
The Intro and Exit Music used for the audio podcast included in this article is: “He didn’t throw the clay away” by Michael English. The background music is a karaoke version (pista) of Santo Rio de Dios by Marcos Witt. I do not own the rights to any of the music used in this or any of my audio compilations.